Retired African American astronaut: Im not afraid to go to space, but Im afraid to be stopped by the police

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 Retired African American astronaut: Im not afraid to go to space, but Im afraid to be stopped by the police


Lilan Melvin was born in Virginia in 1964. As an expert on the space shuttle Atlantis mission, he went into space twice in 2008 and 2009, spending more than 565 hours in space.

On the 31st of local time, Melvin delivered a speech at an aviation theme summit, recalling his life experience. When he graduated from high school, he was stopped by police while driving with his girlfriend and charged with rape. The police said, want him in jail..

Ive been in a rocket that pushes millions of pounds into space, and Ive never been afraid. But when the police stopped me, I didnt even know what to do Im sweating and Im holding on to the steering wheel with both hands.

Melvin explains the subconscious movement at that moment: in the African American community, every father teaches his son to hold the steering wheel with both hands flat if he is questioned by the police in the car. And tell the police officer that you are in awe of him and that your hands are always in a prominent position.

At that time, he applied for a scholarship to go to university, and a prison sentence was enough to destroy his life. Fortunately, he didnt go to prison in the end. After graduating from college, he worked at NASA until he retired in 2014.

In 2009, Lilan Melvin is on the international space station. Source: NASA

When he saw the news that George Freud had been brutally executed by the police, he was deeply touched: I heard him crying for his mother. I think of my mother and if it was me who died

Melvins experience on the international space station has taught Melvin the importance of multiculturalism. He was invited to a dinner party in the Russian cabin, where he met astronauts from different countries and ethnic groups. He was invited by Peggy Whitson, the first female commander of the international space station.

Melvin called for tolerance and unity. Just like on the space station, if astronauts dont work together, theyre likely to die. In the universe, human beings are a whole, a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural civilization. It is solidarity that allows people to survive on earth, land on the moon and explore Mars.

Lilan Melvin escaped from the police and became an astronaut to explore the vast universe, but some people were not so lucky. Recently, violent law enforcement incidents against African Americans and other people of color continue to emerge.

According to a survey recently released by the Brookings think tank, when it comes to the violent law enforcement by the U.S. police, people often call it a case of several bad fruits. However, the bad fruits grow on the decaying trees, and the rotten trees are the law enforcement system full of structural racism.

Since the death of Freud in May, there has been a wave of protests across the United States. In August, Blake, an African American man, was wounded by several shots fired by police, and many people demonstrated.

On August 28, local time, tens of thousands of people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial Hall in Washington, D.C., calling for ethnic equality and denouncing police violence in law enforcement.

Editor in chief Li Ying

Editor Chen Ningze 1